Yeltsin `no tanks' pledge

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The Independent Online
Moscow - Anxious that the conflict in Chechnya might stop President Bill Clinton visiting Moscow for celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Boris Yeltsin yesterday promised that a victory parade in Red Square on 9 May would not include tanks or other military hardware, writes Andrew Higgins.

In an interview with newspaper editors from the G7 nations, President Yeltsin said he wanted to avoid embarrassing Mr Clinton and would restrict festivities to speeches and a parade of veterans.

But Mr Yeltsin repeated his opposition to any rapid expansion of Nato towards Russia's borders and again rejected negotiations with the Chechen leader, Dzhokhar Dudayev, who he said was a criminal.

An article in today's issue of Izvestia says that the Kremlin believes Mr Clinton will visit Moscow this year, probably on 9 May.